FLASHBACK: Making the most of rations during war years

War rations
War rations

With a new year comes the inevitable thoughts of ‘cutting back’ when it comes to food, in a bid to lose a few pounds piled on by those Christmas feasts.

But it’s worth sparing a thought for those people who lived 100 years ago, who were having to ‘make do’ on rations.

The people of Chorley and Leyland did not suffer the same long-term rationing during the First World War as befell the nation during the Second World War.

But still, rather than doing with less, in some cases residents had to do without during the Great War.

There were times in 1917 when Chorley Market and the town’s shops had no beef at all for sale, and was down to final supplies of butter and margarine.

A report in the Chorley Guardian reported Preston Market had only 34 carcasses of meat, available to the highest bidder.

Families were also encouraged to make their food go further in the war effort, and the Chorley Guardian ran a series of ideas and recipes based on foods that were more readily available than most.

It may be fun to try them, but it gives a little insight into the circumstances and hardship of the people in Chorley while many others were serving abroad.

Here are some examples of the Guardian’s ‘war time recipes’:

Barley cheese

Wash six oz of pearl barley in water to free it from dust, put it into a quart of cold water with one tablespoonful of salt and boil it for an hour and a half.

Drain it an put it into a saucepan with half oz of butter and a pinch of pepper and a pinch of salt.

Stir in three oz of grated cheese, and let the saucepan stand by the fire for 10 minutes before serving.

Spinach (four ways)

1. Cook spinach in a saucepan with a quantity of water; when done, drain it and rinse in cold water.

Drain it again, chop it finely and run through a fine sieve.

2. Steam spinach in a little or no water - the less water the better will be the result.

When tender put through sieve. Then put in a stew-pan with a lump of butter or margarine and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Add a quarter of a cup of milk or stock, stir well, do not allow to boil. Serve hot.

3. Take spinach, plunge it in boiling water, rinse well.

Then put it in boiling water in a pot till tender, drain, pass through a sieve and serve as number two recipe.

4. Same as number three recipe only do not pass through sieve. Drain very thoroughly.

Put in a stew-pan with a piece of butter or margarine at bottom, keep just under boiling point to let the water which is still in the spinach evaporate a little.

To serve put a little butter or margarine through the spinach before taking it out of the stew-pan.

This recipe is one used in France.

Vegetable hot pot

Wash and scrape two turnips, two carrots, two onions and one parsnip.

Cut them into blocks and put them into an earthenware pot with a lid on.

Add a tablespoonful of cooked barley, pepper, salt, a quarter oz of butter and one teaspoonful of brown sugar.

Shut down the lid and put the pot into a large saucepan of boiling water and boil for two and a half hours.

Take out the pot, wipe it, put it on a plate and serve from the pot.